Stories Hub / Novels and Novellas / Lady in Red Pt. 02 Ch. 24 / Page 2

Lady in Red Pt. 02 Ch. 24

by Harddaysknight 05/02/16

The deck was littered with dead and dying pirates. Those that were still standing suddenly decided the fight was not going the way they had hoped. They began dropping their weapons and raising their hands. Jason and Jared began directing those that could still walk to form a group by the railings.

Steve searched the ship with his eyes and finally saw a bloodied Gwen. A giant of a man held her by a handful of hair. In his other hand, he held a large knife, which he had placed against Gwen's throat! Steve felt both rage and fear well up and churn inside his gut.

Considering what he had been told about 'The Butcher', Steve dropped his guns to the deck and pulled his vest over his head and dropped it near his guns. Unarmed and shirtless, he strode toward the huge man.

"I've heard you've never lost a fight," declared Steve in the sudden stillness of the morning. "I'm here to put an end to that claim. Are you man enough to face me?"

The giant grinned broadly as he simply shoved Gwen away, dropped the knife, and strode toward Steve. "This is going to be fun. I'm going to kill you with my bare hands, and then take your woman."

"Butch!" spoke Chip from behind Steve. "Make sure you get the rules straight before you start the fight!"

At first, Steve was confused by Chip's reference to Butch. Then he remembered how he and Chip had watched 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' on several Saturday nights while stationed on the base in Cuba.

"Right! What are the rules of the fight?" asked Steve as the big man stopped a few feet in front of Steve.

"There's only one rule," laughed 'The Butcher'. "The first man to die, loses."

As the pirate leader finished his statement, Steve kicked him in the groin as hard as he could. When the man brought his hands down to his crotch, Steve moved in and began whipping punches into his midsection and chest. Steve had spent a lot of time on the heavy bag during his workouts with Jared and was confident that no one could long endure the punches he was throwing.

That was when the man backhanded Steve so hard that he fell backward and to the deck. 'Big Ben' moved forward to kick Steve, but he rolled over and quickly jumped to his feet. The two men circled for a short time before Steve moved in and again delivered hard punches to Chancellor's midsection. Steve knew that staying close prevented his opponent from getting his full strength and momentum into a punch.

Steve had seen the blood and bruises on Gwen's face. His anger consumed him as he swung his fists into the bigger man. He had never wanted to hurt a man like he wanted to hurt this one. He channeled his anger, rather than let it control him. He fed off it, and used it fuel his efforts.

He remembered his father teaching him as a teen that when he was up against an opponent of superior strength, he had to be smart. "Hit him where he lives", was the expression his father had always used. "Don't break your hands on a man's head. If he can take a punch, you'll be dooming yourself by hitting him in the face. Work on his heart, stomach, kidneys, and lungs; where he lives!"

Suddenly 'The Butcher' managed to land a blow that staggered Steve. Sensing Steve was in trouble, Chancellor lumbered after him. Somehow, Steve managed to stay away from the bigger man long enough to shake the cobwebs from his head. Once again, Steve moved in, pummeling the larger man's torso and chest with punches thrown as hard as Steve was able.

"Why doesn't Steve hit the guy in the jaw?" asked Ted through clenched teeth as he held his aching arm.

"Because it would only hurt Steve's hand," responded Chip. "He knows that he has to wear the guy down. I just hope he does it before the bastard takes Steve's head off.

Ted was in pain from his obviously broken arm, but he couldn't stop watching the battle between the two powerful men. He had never witnessed such savagery and brutality. The sounds of flesh being viciously and repeatedly struck were something he'd never forget.

The cameraman in the helicopter above had zoomed in on the two combatants and the world watched in horror and amazement.

"Jesus! Is he going to fight that monster?" wondered President Rosen aloud as Steve and 'Big Ben' squared off on the deck of the ship. His question was quickly answered when Steve kicked the larger man and moved in to begin pummeling his midsection. The President of the United States watched the battle in stunned amazement, along with millions of people around the globe.

Those watching from Marsh's Landing were literally on the edge of their seats as the battle raged on the screen. Groans filled the room whenever Steve hit the deck. Sybil sat next to her mother in silence as she watched Steve battle the much larger man, before finally speaking.

"He's doing this for her, you know," stated Sybil softly, but loud enough for all of the others to hear. "That brute hurt Gwen, and now Steve has it to do. He'll never allow another man to touch her like that as long as he lives. He'll kill that damn stupid pirate. Just watch.

"But it isn't enough to just kill him. The world has to see and learn what happens to any man, no matter how big and strong he is, that harms Gwen. Steve will kill him with his bare hands! He's the Warrior and he's fighting for his Queen!"

Once again, Chancellor managed to land a haymaker to Steve's face. Steve stumbled backward as he wiped the blood from his eyes. His head ached and his ears had a constant ring. He had never fought a man as tough as 'The Butcher'. Realizing that he couldn't allow the pirate to catch his breath, Steve moved back in and once again began hammering Chancellor in the torso.

As he watched his best friend battle his huge foe, Chip contemplated simply shooting the man in the head to prevent Steve from suffering any further injury. The only thing that stopped him was the knowledge that Steve would never forgive him. Chip was beginning to worry about the outcome of the fight. He had never seen Steve defeated. When the battle had begun, Chip was confident that Steve would destroy the larger man quickly. That hadn't happened and now Steve was beginning to tire. Chip promised himself that if Chancellor managed to get Steve down and in a position to kill him, he would shoot the big man and apologize to Steve later.

Steve suddenly changed tactics and struck 'Big Ben' in the knee with a vicious kick, forcing the big man to limp backward. Steve lashed out again and struck the same knee. The impact jarred Steve's leg, but the pirate remained standing. Once again, Steve moved under the wild swings of his opponent and launched another series of body punches.

Steve was as surprised as anyone when Chancellor suddenly dropped to his knees with his head hanging down against his chest. His breathing was extremely ragged as he gasped for air. Steve immediately brought his right foot around and struck the larger man squarely on the chin, turning the brute's head. Seeing his opening, Steve stepped in behind the kneeling pirate, grabbed his hair with one hand and his chin with the other. Then he intentionally, and brutally, snapped the huge man's neck!

"You lose, Mother Fucker!" rasped Steve as Chancellor's body dropped to the deck. Steve proceeded to grab a hand full of the dead man's hair and drag the inert body toward the railing. Everyone watched in amazement as Steve grabbed the man's belt with one hand, a fistful of hair with the other, lifted the body chest high, and threw it overboard!

Steve slowly turned; staring at the rest of the pirate crew as he painfully walked toward them. Jason quickly spoke to his captives. "You men grab your friends' bodies and toss them over the side. Then jump over after them. If any of you are still here one minute from now, you'll be shot where you stand."

Enough of the men understood English to translate for their comrades that didn't. There was immediate activity as pirate bodies were tossed into the ocean. A pirate stood looking at a badly wounded fellow pirate, unsure of what to do when Jared walked over, lifted the wounded pirate and proceeded to fling him over the side. The pirates understood the message and began removing the wounded. Within two minutes, there was no sign of any pirate presence on the ship, except for numerous blood stains scattered about the deck. Jason counted 15 bodies of crew members

Steve had staggered past the stunned pirates and up to Gwen, who was being supported by Charlotte. As he drew near, Gwen sobbed and wrapped her arms around Steve's bloodied body as they both slowly collapsed to their knees.

Seeing that Steve was in no condition to make decisions, Jason signaled for one of the helicopters to land on the deck. The sea was calm and it had no difficulty touching down.

"Jared, get Gwen on that chopper. Chip, help me load Steve. Once we get those two in, Ted and Pete need to climb in. They're both hurt. Chip, you ride with them. The rest of us will take the second helicopter. They must be getting low on fuel, so let's get moving!"

"I should stay and help the injured," protested Charlotte weakly.

"We're going home now, Charlotte. You're going with me right now," stated Billy emphatically. "Besides, I need you to take care of my arm." Charlotte nodded meekly in agreement.

"What are the ramifications of Hammer killing that big son-of-a-bitch?" asked Rosen as he watched the second helicopter lift off the hospital ship. "What kind of fallout will there be?"

"Sir, if I may speak?" asked a crusty Marine General who had witnessed the entire battle with President Rosen. "He's added to his legend. I wish to hell he was a Marine. The world just saw the very best America has and now they know just how goddamn good our best is!"

"What will other countries think? Steve Hammer just stepped up to a badly injured man and killed him in cold blood," argued one of Rosen's older civilian aides. "We can't condone that behavior."

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